Steelers Still Have A Place For NT Casey Hampton At Latrobe

With training camps around the league now in full swing, veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton still remains unemployed. Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, however, that Hampton\’s locker at Saint Vincent College remains unoccupied with his name plate still fixed above it. Whether or not it\’s just a tribute to the 12 years Hampton put in at Latrobe or some sort of sign that he could still possible return, we just don\’t know.

One thing that we do know is that the Steelers still lack experienced depth at the nose tackle position behind new starter Steve McLendon. Second-year nose tackle Alameda Ta\’amu has yet to practice during training camp as he remains on the Active PUP list with a hamstring injury suffered just prior to him reporting to Latrobe. While former undrafted free agent Hebron Fangupo and his enormous calves have reportedly looked good during the first few practices, you\’d still have to think he has a long way to go before he can be counted on as a backup.

During the offseason practices and first few practices at Latrobe, backup defensive end Al Woods has received reps at nose tackle in an effort to develop his position flexibility. Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about Woods time at the position a following the first training camp practice and he told the media not to read too much into it.

“He\’s a guy that\’s vying for a job like everyone else,” said Tomlin of Woods. “That\’s just where we are, we\’re at the very beginnings of stages of trying to identify the 53 plus eight practice squads in the division of labor within that. So I wouldn\’t read too much into who\’s running with what groups and things of that nature at this point. Really it\’s probably irrelevant. There\’s going to be plenty of time to ascend and descend within these ranks.”

So will Hampton ascend off the streets and be the Steelers sixth defensive lineman on the 53 man roster? It\’s probably still too early to tell, but one would think if Hampton was to return for a 13th season in Pittsburgh, it would likely have to happen pretty soon as the big two-gapper most definitely will need time to get himself back into football shape and absorb whatever has been implemented defensively over the course of the offseason.

Has #BigSnackWatch begun, or are the Steelers more comfortable at the nose tackle position than I think they should be?

  • steeltown

    This is an interesting topic now that Ta’amu is not practicing.. I know Fang has looked good and Al Woods may be able to fill in in an emergency but something tells me if Ta’mu cant return soon then they may be calling Hamtpon

  • BurgherinMD

    I do not think Casey wants to play if he cannot start. However, if resigned he would likely see a fair amount of snaps. Would LOVE to have him back.

  • Matt Searls

    Do you think he’ll be willing to be a back up?

  • steeltown

    Not sure he’d have a choice… they could potentially platoon at NT

  • steeltown

    True, but he doesn’t exactly have a lot of options

  • BurgherinMD

    Agreed. I also wonder what he feels about Tomlin after his 2008 trip to fat camp and the leaner menu Tomlin lobbied for at St. Vincents for camp.

  • Matt Searls

    That could take away from big Mack’s growth and learning. Just like we’d rather have a feature back

  • Shea Fahr

    Hope they bring him back. They love him in that locker room.

  • dgh57

    I like Hampton but he’s going to have to realize his starting days are over. I also think he would work good on short yardage and goal line stands until he gets back into football shape then we’ll see where it goes from there..

    That’ one side of it. Then after making that move we’d have to figure out what to do with Ta’amu & Fang. So I don’t think a decision is coming soon.

  • Jason Brant

    I think the Steelers have moved on. The first week of camp is almost over. Unless the Ta’amu injury is more significant than the Steelers are letting on, the Hampton days are likely over.

  • JohnnyV1

    Let’s let Big Snack ride off into the sunset, he’s earned it.

  • Steve

    I think Big Snacks days are over with the Steelers. Camp was never his forte and with Mac ready to play full time his days were numbered.

  • Randy Neff

    Perhaps there was an agreement that he wouldn’t talk to other teams if he gets to miss most if not all of training camp.And we know how much Casey hates camp. I don’t think Casey would need camp. He could still play the last two games and get ready for a limited role.

  • Steve

    Would not be suprized if they let Tamu go. Getting hurt has dwindled his chances of making 53 and they didn’t need many reasons to say Bye-Bye.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    It is time to move on from Hampton. Unless Steve Mc. can’t go, I don’t want to see Hampton here. It is time to get younger.

  • Madi

    If Steve goes down at any point, Hampton will start the next week.

  • Shea Fahr

    What shall we do if Mac goes down though?

  • Shea Fahr

    True but Casey is the best Veteran Depth out there on the wire right now.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’d like to see one of these young guys step up like Ta’amu but if they are deemed not ready for the backup job, i say call on the Big Snack. Don’t see why one of these two guys can’t do the job, were basically talking about a two down player. A fresh NT is critical on those first two downs so i’d like to see the Steelers develop one of the young NT’s but if there is an injury by all means put in the call to Hamp.

  • cencalsteeler

    It’s a double edged sword. If Hampton accepts the fact he’s coming here to contribute as a back up, that would be o.k. But, on the other hand, what message are you sending McClendon, Ta’amu, Fang and Woods?

  • Robert Schultz

    But can they afford him while dealing with the salary cap ?

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think I answered that. Unless Steve McLendon cannot move forward to due to some physical prohibition, I would rather move on.